The following is an article by Mike Flynn, Best Selling Author of Master The Key.
Here’s a fun experiment. Go to Google and type in “confidence is the key to” and look at the suggested results. At least on my browser, confidence is apparently the key to success, happiness, everything, and life. By these suggested searches, we can assume that people are being told if they lack confidence, their life is going to suffer big time.
I’d like to offer up a counterpoint: that assertion is flat out wrong.
It’s OK to lack confidence. In fact, it’d be dangerous to approach everything in life with confidence. If you don’t believe me, get under a 350-pound barbell and try to squat it.
If you’ve never lifted before, it’s totally natural to not feel confident about that task. That truth applies across the board. If you’ve never recorded a podcast, written a book, built out a meal plan, or started a business, you’re allowed to feel uncomfortable about it.
What’s not OK, though, is failing to do something that builds your confidence. When you’re attempting something new, you have to move forward in faith. That’s the literal meaning of confidence: the Latin word “con” meaning “with” and “fid” meaning faith.
In this article, we’ll look at a three-step process for building confidence and distinguish the purpose it actually serves (hint: it’s not what Google would have you believe).
A Complete Vision Involves Community
Confidence starts with vision. You have to be able to see a few steps ahead of where you are now and envision a future that’s different from your current reality. You don’t need to know all the steps of how to get to this place. You just need to visualize it.
To further build out this vision, ask yourself these three questions:
- Who do I want to become?
- Where do I want to be?
- Who do I want to be with?
If you’ve envisioned a new future for yourself, you’ve already started to answer the first two questions. What you need to do now is flesh those answers out before moving on.
Why do you want to end up in this place? How do you see yourself showing up there?
The third piece is one that many people don’t consider, but community is the ultimate accelerant for growth. Your environment is important, but who you allow into your environment matters more. Think about it: if you want to get fit, are you going to hang out at a bakery all day? Probably not, although I’m sure those folks are awesome.
You’re going to hang out at the gym with people who are trying to do what you want to do. If you don’t have the people you need yet, that’s a change you’ll need to make.
Courage Means Stepping into the Darkness
So, you have a vision of who you want to become, where you want to be, and who you want to be with — what comes next? The honest answer to that question is “fear.”
Having a vision is scary because to reach somewhere you’ve never been, you have to do things you’ve never done before. Facing that, fear begins to flood our brain:
What if I lose my money? What if get hurt? What if I don’t do it right?
Fear stops confidence dead in its tracks. It keeps you stuck and makes you second guess yourself. To move into that dark, unknown place, you need courage.
Vision helps us with courage — because we know what we want lies on the other side of that darkness — but it also helps to use your unique gifts and abilities. Things become less scary when we know we’re capable of bringing light into that darkness.
It also helps to anticipate obstacles in advance and map out how you’ll respond to them. That way, if you do hit those bumps, you won’t end up on the side of the road.
When you step into the darkness secure in your gifts and armed with a plan of attack, it becomes easier to take that first step — and keep moving forward from there.
Repetition Prepares You to Keep Trying
Having a vision and courage doesn’t guarantee success. They only give you the ammo you need to get started. The next step is to try what it is you want to do over and over and over again. Sometimes you’ll fail, other times you’ll succeed, but the constant should be that you’re always moving forward, not standing still.
Confidence does not depend on success. It’s about having a vision, taking action, and getting back up to pursue that vision differently when what you tried didn’t work.
Let me say that again: confidence has nothing to do with success.
Confidence also means having the humility to know when you’re not supposed to do something. For example, no matter how many times I try, I will never be the type of person who easily builds things. I once built my kids’ basketball goal backwards.
I’m also going to stay rooted in my gifts and abilities so I can become who I was created to be. The fastest way to destroy your confidence is to use someone else’s gifts.
That’s why the first question I asked about your vision was: Who do you want to become? Confidence is earned only when you stay true to yourself.
Confidence is Not an Outcome
Society would have you believe that confidence is an outcome. You either use it or you lose it, right? That’s not true. In reality, confidence is a continual process.
You don’t arrive at confidence. When most people say they want confidence, what they actually want is comfort. They want to get across the ravine and feel safe.
Confidence is not comfort. It’s a reminder that you faced something difficult, overcame it, and you can do it again. Only this time, you have that foreknowledge going in.
That’s what confidence is — but to use that foreknowledge, you need a vision, courage, and repetition to move forward in the face of uncertainty and fear.
For more advice on earning confidence, check out Master the Key on Amazon.